The team behind the @southafrica Instagram account have launched a photo tourism website where everyone can start planning their post-lockdown trips. ThisIsSouthAfrica.com aims to combine people’s collective passion for South Africa and their free time during lockdown to create a powerful local travel planning resource. South Africans under lockdown are dreaming about all the places across the country they’re going to visit when it’s safe to do so, and that presents opportunity.
The website combines the practicality of Google Maps and the visual aspect of Instagram to enable everyone to add amazing photographic locations from across South Africa and plan their local road trips. Each photo location will include location data, a list of activities, and accessibility information to improve the search and planning functions.
The platform is the brainchild of Craig Rodney, the person who runs the @SouthAfrica account on Instagram. Every single day for the past seven years, Rodney has posted a stunning image of South Africa on the page. That’s over 3500 user-generated images of one of the most photogenic countries on the planet, reaching close to 300,000 followers.
Rodney notes that he’s loved managing the @SouthAfrica account and creating the archive on Instagram, but quickly identified one big hindrance. Beyond simply appreciating the images on Instagram, you can’t easily filter locations to plan your travel itineraries based on the images that inspire you.
“South Africa is consistently voted one of the world’s most beautiful places – and for good reason! With the rise of photo tourism, the way people source destination inspiration and plan their trips has changed. The @SouthAfrica account on Instagram is one of the most powerful online platforms for promoting travel and tourism in our country and has long been used as a source of inspiration for local and international travellers alike. As amazing as the gallery of images is, it’s very one-dimensional. We need to provide users with the opportunity to plan trips around SA based on inspiring photography. Now, instead of just a beautiful picture in an app, it’s a picture that is geotagged, with information about that particular spot in SA,” says Rodney.
“I want to use the @southafrica account to help the local travel industry as much as possible. When it’s safe to travel again, there’s going to be a boom in post-lockdown appreciation for local travel. International travel will be slower to open up and will be expensive, driving local travel even more. There are thousands of stunning and diverse locations across every part of our country, and this will help shine a light on all of them.”
Anyone can become a contributor on ThisIsSouthAfrica.com and load their favourite and most beautiful images of South Africa for consideration. Once a new location is added onto the site, it gets geotagged and linked to the contributor’s Instagram account. It will also be categorised according to its accessibility (are they easy or hard to reach), what activities are available at that location, and adds tips and tricks provided by the contributor. What this does is provide a lot more information that is not specifically available on Instagram. Users can then log onto the platform, create a profile and start building their dream trip around SA. The free-to-use platform will see a lot more development to its capabilities and offering in the coming months.
“The more locations and info we add, the more we’ll be able to help our tourism industry recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19. When we all get through this difficult time we want to have played our part, and hopefully inspire hundreds of other South Africans to help contribute to this project.”
Explore This Is South Africa: https://thisissouthafrica.com/
Visit @southafrica on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southafrica/